Gone but not forgotten (times 2)
It was a very unhappy weekend in Ottawa as we learned through the news of two untimely deaths.
First there was Ottawa Sun journalist, Earl McRae who passed suddenly while at work. I read McRae’s pieces often and although not always agreeing with his take on topics, felt I could understand clearly his point of view. His sometimes sarcastic writing style made me chuckle. He knew how to make a point.
My one personal interaction with him two and a half years ago was when I chaired the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration event at City Hall (eerily fitting on this weekend of the dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington DC). It was January 2009 and we spoke at length about the importance of recognizing the civil rights leader and what it meant, not just for Americans but for people around the world. McRae went on to write an awesome piece in the Ottawa Sun that I reposted in my blog (Hat’s off to Earl McRae). He was able to capture, through words, the meaning and essence of the celebration. He was able to pass on the message I was trying to convey to the public.
In reading the tributes in the press since the news broke on Earl McRae, I remembered fondly our discussions and saw that many others felt the same way. He’ll be missed.
The second death was that of Jamie Hubley. He was 15 years old. As a parent and father, I don’t know what to write. How bad must a 15 year old feel not to be able to find any hope in all the people that are around him or her? How the words of so few can spoil the visions and dreams of a young person. The Ottawa Citizen has a story today on Jamie that you should read (15-year-old Jamie Hubley documented heartbreaking need for acceptance).
As adults, we have to do more to reach out and support young people who are struggling to make sense of this world. The It Gets Better Project is not enough on its own. Parents need to work with schools and teachers need to make the extra effort to root out the causes that push young people beyond the edge. My condolences to Councillor Allan Hubley and his family. My heart is broken over this.
These two losses to the Ottawa community, one of an accomplished journalist and the other of a boy who was only just being to add his voice to the world should make us all pause, reflect and want to reach out to make this a better place.